I am participating in the Get Rec’d: A Movie/TV/Book List Challenge and this is the second week’s entry. I have decided to be bold and list a response for all three categories; a movie, a television show, and a book.
Week 2: Favorite Introduction of a Main Character
Movie: The Third Man (1949) – Harry Lime
The plot of The Third Man has Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) heading to Vienna to visit his friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Unfortunately, Harry has died under mysterious circumstances. Holly ends up getting drawn into what seems to be something nefarious only to find out later his friend is not dead. A perfect reveal.
The Third Man ends up on lists for best movie, cinematography, and best screenplay all the time. This reveal makes an appearance in Heavenly Creatures when the main characters imagine Harry Lime appearing out of nowhere and chasing them.
Television: The West Wing (1999) – President Bartlet
The first episode of The West Wing is a thing of beauty. The show introduces the entire ensemble cast by showing a little about their role and a little about their character. You aren’t overloaded with a ton of backstory. They drop you right into the thick of things. The President is mentioned but doesn’t show up until the end of the episode with a perfect entrance.
Here is the setup. One by one the senior staff find out that President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) has crashed his bicycle while away from the White House. Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) had said something inappropriate on a morning show that offended the religious leaders. Some members of the senior staff try to smooth things over by inviting them to a meeting. It gets rather heated fast.
Not only does he enter on the perfect line, but he just casually walks in and reminds everyone why he is the president. His presence and eloquent manner shuts everyone down and de-escalates the whole situation. It is by far my favorite introduction.
Book: The Martian by Andy Weir (2012) – Mark Watney
This was not an easy decision, but I decided to go with The Martian because the first few lines of the book introduce the character so well. The book starts as a first person story of how Mark Watney is stuck alone on Mars. Everyone thinks he is dead and he needs to figure out what to do.
“I’m pretty much f**ked. That’s my considered opinion. F**ked. Six days into what should be the greatest month of my life, and it’s turned into a nightmare. I don’t even know who’ll read this. I guess someone will find it eventually. Maybe a hundred years from now.”
The character is hilarious, smart, a smart-ass, and even though he has no idea what he is going to do, he just starts telling someone his story. You immediately like him and are rooting for him to be saved.
The book is amazing. The movie is good but didn’t open like the book which was deeply disappointing. But, they were going for a PG-13 rating and the book is R for language so I guess I understand.
Coming Up Next
Next week will be “Hidden Gem.”
What is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.